Demirtaş announces manifesto, vows to limit powers of presidency

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A woman holds pictures of former leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party HDP Selahattin Demirtas, in jail for a year and a half, and HDP candidate for the upcoming presidential election, during a rally on May 4, 2018 in Besiktas district of Istanbul. Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) launched its campaign for June 24 elections, as other opposition parties indicated they were set to join forces in an unprecedented alliance against incumbent president. / AFP PHOTO / Yasin AKGUL

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate, jailed politician Selahattin Demirtaş, on Monday announced his manifesto for the upcoming elections on June 24, promising a limitation of presidential powers and the normalization of society.

“There is a presidential system that concentrates all powers in the hands of one man,” Demirtaş said in his manifesto, which was provided to the press as a written statement. “When I am elected, firstly, I will use my powers to limit my presidential powers. As we share these powers, the system will be democratized.”

Demirtaş has been under pretrial detention since November 2016. Demirtaş’s lawyers will apply to the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court tomorrow for his immediate release following the official approval of his presidential candidacy and announcement in Turkey’s Official Gazette.

He also vowed to start a process of normalization, the first step to healing the wounds the current government has inflicted. In order to do so, Demirtaş pledged to end an ongoing state of emergency, with all the injustice it has brought, including ill treatment in the country’s prisons.

Similar to Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce’s previous remarks on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s palace, Demirtaş also promised to clear the palace out and ask people what to do with it.

He also offered less government control over universities by closing down the Higher Education Board (YÖK) and giving the right to elect rectors back to university bodies. In addition to YÖK, dissolving the National Security Council and cancelling the antiterrorism law are included in Demirtaş’s vision for his presidency.

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